June 5, 2014
THE RELEASE of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, a captive of Islamist extremists for almost five years, is good news not only for his family but for all Americans. But the price the Obama administration paid for the 28-year-old soldier's repatriation was freedom for five detainees at Guantanamo Bay who are hardened Taliban commanders. Critics of the administration say that that price was too high, and they make three other arguments: that the exchange violated a long-standing U.S. policy of refusing to negotiate with terrorists; that this country shouldn't negotiate with the Taliban because it might legitimize the group in Afghanistan; and that the swift release of the detainees violated U.S. law. Most of these arguments are invalid or overstated.
December 16, 2013 |
PHILADELPHIA Some at Guantanamo Bay have talked trash about the game. Others have watched it on tape delay in a tent during the first Gulf War. The Army-Navy Game evokes such fierce rivalry - and deep pride - that some have placed bets on it in a war zone. "When I was in Iraq, I bet a guy [in the Army] $20," said Bruce Little, who graduated from the Naval Academy in the 1970s and continued to work for the Navy. "He paid me all in pennies," Little added. "And it was hard to get pennies in Iraq.
November 18, 2013 |
Inside Courtroom II at Camp Justice on the sprawling Guantanamo Bay base in Cuba, eight visitors filed into a glass-protected gallery. It was a little after 9 a.m. on Oct. 22, before the start of a hearing for five men accused of plotting attacks in the United States. Jim Jenca, a 52-year-old married father of two from Levittown, took a seat in the front row. A big ex-Marine with a florid, round face, he couldn't sit still. Restless, he stood up. He put his face close to the glass partition.
July 9, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - President Obama's hardest sell in his renewed push to close the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, may be members of his own party - moderate Senate Democrats facing tough re-election bids next year in the strongly Republican South. Obama has stepped up the pressure to shutter the naval facility, driven in part by his revised counterterrorism strategy and the four-month-old stain of the government's force-feeding Guantanamo prisoners on hunger strikes to prevent them from starving to death.
June 21, 2013 |
KABUL, Afghanistan - The Taliban proposed a deal in which it would free a U.S. soldier held captive since 2009 in exchange for five of its most senior operatives at Guantanamo Bay, while Afghan President Hamid Karzai eased his opposition Thursday to joining planned peace talks. The idea of releasing these Taliban prisoners has been controversial. U.S. negotiators hope they would join the peace process but fear they might simply return to the battlefield, and Karzai once scuttled a similar deal partly because he felt the Americans were usurping his authority.
June 18, 2013 |
FORT MEADE, Md. - A new round of pretrial hearings in the military commission case against five men accused of planning the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks opened Monday at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, two months after a military judge ordered a delay in proceedings because of defense concerns about the security of their communications. Attorneys for the five detainees, including self-proclaimed Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, will argue a series of motions before Army Col. James Pohl in a slow-moving prelude to a death-penalty trial that could be a year or more away.
June 9, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - Here is how area members of Congress voted on major issues last week: House 2014 Homeland Security budget. Voting 245-182, the House on Thursday approved a $45 billion fiscal 2014 appropriations bill for the Department of Homeland Security and its 230,000 employees in seven agencies. The bill (HR 2217) increases spending for border protection, customs, and immigration enforcement while sharply cutting the Transportation Security Administration and Coast Guard budgets.
May 22, 2013
WASHINGTON - The U.S. has identified five men who might be responsible for the attack on the diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, last year, and has enough evidence to justify seizing them by military force as suspected terrorists, officials say. But there isn't enough proof to try them in a U.S. civilian court as the Obama administration prefers. The men remain at large while the FBI gathers evidence. But the investigation has been slowed by the reduced U.S. intelligence presence in the region since the attacks, and by the limited ability to assist by Libya's post-revolutionary law enforcement and intelligence agencies, which are still in their infancy.
May 8, 2013 |
Sometimes the absurdities of an official policy or action are so clear that they need not be elucidated. Such is the case with the Obama administration's maintenance of the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay. Last week, President Obama told reporters that he intends to once again press Congress to close the facility, as he had promised to do in his first campaign. But there is no indication that the president intends to devote any of his remaining political capital to the task - any more than he did during his first term.
May 7, 2013 |
FORT MEADE, Md. - Government secrecy reaches a new level this week in the court-martial of Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, an intelligence analyst who sent 700,000 classified U.S. documents to the WikiLeaks website. A military judge, Col. Denise Lind, has ordered what prosecutors say is an unprecedented closed hearing Wednesday at Fort Meade to help her decide how much of Manning's coming trial should be closed to protect national security. An unidentified prosecution witness will testify during that closed hearing in a "dry run. " Defense attorneys say that could allow the judge to find ways to avoid closing the courtroom to the public during the presentation of classified evidence.